Thursday, February 28, 2008

Don't Insult, Poison or Overcharge Me: An Open Letter to Consumer Products Companies

As the economy and the capital markets stutter with recession fears, there's a lot of talk that some companies and retailers in the consumer products sector are recession proof. Maybe, but I won't be wasting my dollars on companies that insult, poison or overcharge me. Here's my list of gripes:

Dear Consumer Products Companies:

These marketing, production and packaging trends are troubling and could hit your bottom line during a slowdown:

Poison Cosmetics: It's like a nightmare from Catwoman (2004) starring Halle Berry. The plot line: Cat Woman discovers that her employer designs and distributes skin care products that disfigure women and create long-term health problems. It's not such a far-fetched fantasy. There are many dubious cosmetic products on the market. see: Think Before You Pink

I am personally boycotting beauty products with parabens, leads and other harmful chemicals. Even some of my favorite frugal products are on my Do Not Buy list because the merchandise contains dyes. (For example, there is a line of hair conditioners for $1 a bottle that is packaged in a rainbow of colors and scents. The conditioner is cheap and works. But why do I need to put extra dyes into my system?) I will actually spend more for organic or natural products that make me look prettier without killing me.

Dangerous personal care products: Some ingredients in anti-perspirants and lotions are awful. I'm looking for alternative products that won't harm my body. Let me sweat and live in peace.

Insulting ads: Stop filling magazine pages, cyberspace and television airwaves with advertisements designed to make me feel needy, greedy and inadequate. What's wrong with fine lines around my eyes? I've laughed a lot. I've cried plenty. And I'm glad to be alive. I'm not going to spend money on companies that suggest I should apologize for showing signs of life.

What's more, I refuse to buy products for companies with ads that suggest my life will be better with a new shade of hair, a new layer of skin and whiter teeth. Nothing in a bottle can address my real problems and issues. Don't insult me with quick-fix pitches.

Flavor-of-the Month clothing: I hated those tiny bust-hugging, wallet-breaking jackets/sweaters from two or three seasons ago. OMG! Adult women looked as if we had purchased outfits in the children's department. With a few exceptions, the look was very unflattering. Against my better judgement, I purchased two of those jackets at an end-of-season sale. Even at a 75-percent discount I wasted money. My experience taught me to avoid trendy fashions that look dated before I even unwrap the tissue paper.

Manipulated prices: The truth: Most sales aren't really sales. Suggested retail price is a joke. What's the value of 75 percent off, when a garment has been marked up by 500 to 1000 percent? Sorry, I'll keep the change.

Shoddy merchandise: I don't want computer program systems that need urgent patches and I don't want shirts that need instant button repairs. If you sell me something that immediately falls apart or malfunctions, I won't come back. I'll spend elsewhere.

Packaging: It's simple: Save the trees and charge me less. I don't want merchandise packed in air and paper. Just give me my stuff, charge me less and downsize the wrapping.

Celebrity endorsements: Save money; cancel the big-ticket celebrity contracts. I love the Dove "real women" ads (Campaign For Real Beauty ) because there are no airbrushed super models or actresses. I'm 5'1 and 110-115 pounds. I used to weigh about 90 pounds or less, but I've stopped starving myself and I'm not going to buy products from models who make me feel as if I should waste away, skip breakfast or throw up my lunch. I work and eat for a living.

Thank you for listening,

Articles of interest:
Recession Proof Your Life
Recession-Proof Your Marketing
Hackett: Business Finance, ''How to Recession-Proof Your Business''
Is Blogging Recession Proof?



Anonymous said...

I love the line "I've laughed a lot and cried plenty" too true. When I was in school I spent one afternoon a week volunteering in an old peoples home, these people with their beautiful wrinkles had lived interesting lives and it showed. I can't imagine how creepy it will be when old people's home are full of residents with smooth young faces.

Hazel said...

Hey Sharon, I can Digg your story but not facebook it -- at least I suppose I could but you haven't got a nice easy "one click" system to let me tell all my virtual friends what you are saying today. Forget deodorant -- use baking soda! Forget conditioner - lemon juice and olive oil works well etc etc.